ISLAMABAD: Stakeholders from diverse backgrounds on Wednesday urged the Sindh government to draft the rules of business for early and effective implementation of the Sindh Domestic Violence (Prevention and Protection) Act, 2013.
In a national consultative meeting, organised to establish a framework for implementation of the act, the participants recommended that other provinces should follow suit with similar legislation.
The meeting was jointly organised by the National Commission on the Status of Women (NCSW) and the Shirkat Gah- Women’s Resource Centre to highlight the key features of the law and discuss the need and the status of legislations on domestic violence across Pakistan.
NCSW Chairwoman Khawar Mumtaz appreciated the endeavour of the Sindh Assembly members and said the long-awaited act was a crucial step in upholding the safety and dignity of survivors of domestic violence.
She said, “Sindh becomes the first province to pass a law on domestic violence making Pakistan one of the 90 countries in the world which have legislation against domestic violence”.
She stressed the need for similar legislation in all provinces with a framework to ensure effective implementation of existing laws. Sindh Women’s Development Minister Rubina Qaimkhani reiterated the government’s commitment to implement the law.
“Awareness campaign on the law has been initiated by the ministry and in collaboration with the civil society mechanisms for monitoring will be formulated,” she said adding that all stakeholders were being taken onboard in this regard.
The Sindh Women’s Development Department secretary announced that the Provincial Commission on Domestic Violence would be formed within the next 10 days. The commission has responsibility for oversight of the law and its implementation. The protection committees at the Tehsil level will be responsible for providing support to survivors, documenting cases and making referrals and they will be notified soon in this regard.
Sindh MPA Mehtab Rashdi and former minister and NCSW chair Anees Haroon recommended to establish linkages between all related departments including the Social Welfare, the Women’s Development and the Home Departments. Shirkat Gah Executive Director Farida Shaheed reiterated the need for sharing information among provinces and the need for provincial governments to send all relevant laws and information to the NCSW.
The Provincial Commission on the Status of Women chairperson in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa (KP) and Azad Jammu and Kashmir, Women’s Development Minister Sadia Danish from Gilgit-Baltistan, the provincial assembly members from Punjab, KP, Balochistan, lawyers and members of the civil society organisations attended the meeting.
They emphasised the need for laws on domestic violence in all provinces and demanded effective mechanism for redressing women’s grievances.